Introduction: Sew Easy Purse - It's Reversible!

Picture of Sew Easy Purse - It's Reversible!

This is a great project for anyone who has not done much sewing. There are no fancy stitches. No buttons, zippers or tricky bits either.

It is also a great project for anyone who loves purses but has trouble finding THE PERFECT PURSE. This is one purse that will be the right size and the right color. The strap will be the exact right length. Because you make all of those decisions.

This is great purse, because it's reversible too. So if your plans change, just flip it inside out and have a completely different look.

Finally, this project will give you basic purse assembly skills. After this one, you can make another one -- maybe with TWO straps! Or with a button loop instead of a flap! Your design. You decide.

To start, read through all of the steps and get the following materials and tools together.

| Like the idea, but lack the materials, time or motivation?
| You can buy this purse at my etsy store, ArtsiBitsi.

Step 1: Before You Start

Picture of Before You Start

The fabric that you pick will affect your experience, and your results.

If you're a beginner, I recommend that you get something cheap and lightweight to start with. You can iron some fusible interfacing to the back of it to make it a little stiffer.

Step 2: Measure, Measure, Cut

Picture of Measure, Measure, Cut

This is your purse, so you get to decide how big it should be. Basically, you want to cut four pieces (two of each color), each of them two inches wider and one inch higher than your favorite purse.

Step 3: A Zebra and a Giraffe Go Into a Bar.

Picture of A Zebra and a Giraffe Go Into a Bar.

I've cut all of my pieces and laid them out.

Step 4: Start the Straps

Picture of Start the Straps

Put the right sides together and sew up both sides, longways.

Step 5: Turning (and Turning and Turning And...)

Picture of Turning (and Turning and Turning And...)

I hate turning. I've been known to recruit family members to do it for me. But this

See if you can find a small child to do this, or try the alternative technique described below.

Step 6: Finish the Strap.

Picture of Finish the Strap.

The key to a nice strap, is the finishing. You should iron it flat and top-stitch.

Even vinyl can be ironed, at the right temperature.

(if your sewing skills don't include straight seams, don't try to top-stitch. :-)

Step 7: Box It Up.

Picture of Box It Up.

Make two bags, one from each color.

Make sure to leave a gap in the bottom of one of them for turning later.

Step 8: Square the Bottoms.

Picture of Square the Bottoms.

Square bottoms look bad on people, but they look good on your purse.

Learn this technique and your future sewing projects will be much enhanced!

Step 9: Flatty McFlap

Picture of Flatty McFlap

You should have two pieces of fabric left. These are the two sides of your reversible flap.

Round it off and sew it up.

Clipping the rounded corners will greatly improve the flatness of your flap.

Step 10: Flap Finishing

Picture of Flap Finishing

Again, top-stitching is a nice way to finish off a piece. It just makes the edges lay flatter and look sharper.

Step 11: Putting It Together - Part I

Picture of Putting It Together - Part I

Pin the flap to one of your bag pieces, as described below.

Step 12: Putting It Together - Part II

Picture of Putting It Together - Part II

Pin the strap tabs to the same bag piece.

Step 13: Putting It Together - Part III

Picture of Putting It Together - Part III

Tuck one bag into the other, right sides together.

Did you remember to leave a gap in the bottom of one of the bags?

Step 14: Sewing - at Last!

Picture of Sewing - at Last!

Very carefully sew the whole shebang together.

Go nice and slow, and stop often to rearrange your piece. If you rush it, you'll just end up with weird creases and pleats where you don't want them. (ask me how I know this)

Take all of the pins out. Or, after the next step, they'll be stuck in your purse forever. (again, ask me how I know)

Step 15: A Weird Looking Animal

Picture of A Weird Looking Animal

I pulled the bags right side out.

The result looks like the spawn of some unholy serengeti union. Either a zebra eating a giraffe, or vice versa.

Your results may vary. :-)

Step 16: SEW CLOSE to Being Done.

Picture of SEW CLOSE to Being Done.

Sew up that bottom seam.

Step 17: Connect the Strap

Picture of Connect the Strap

You can sew the strap, or try something else.

I have a rivet tool that I use a lot for joining heavy fabric.

Or, put in some grommets and lace it together?

Or, wrap it with leather?

Your design, you decide.

Step 18: And... We're Done!

Picture of And... We're Done!

How cool is this. I got two bags for the price of one. It's exactly the right size for my stuff, the strap fits me perfectly, and its going to be great for my next shopping safari.

What will you make?

| Like the idea, but lack the materials, time or motivation?
| You can buy this purse at my etsy store, ArtsiBitsi.


cootersma (author)2012-02-08

love love love this bag! thanks to artsibitsi check her stuff out on

Bitsi (author)cootersma2012-02-08

You did a really nice job with this. Thanks for sharing the pictures. :-)

cootersma (author)Bitsi2012-02-08

I had to make another one! I made this one a lil bit bigger. Hope you like!

Bitsi (author)cootersma2012-02-09

Ha. Yes, its addictive. The pattern doesnt require much fabric and they're fast and easy to do.

This one is very pretty. :-)

nickyboobles (author)Bitsi2014-10-29

what specific type of fabric do you recommend using when making this bag, for it to be sturdy and also for a first time seamstress

Bitsi (author)nickyboobles2014-10-29

Cotton is very easy to sew. It doesn't slip or stretch in your sewing machine. I've made a bunch of these purses using cheap cotton with interesting prints, but thin cotton does wear out pretty fast. Denim is sturdy and comes in different colors, and patterns... you could try that. :-)

cootersma (author)nickyboobles2014-10-29

I am not good with knowing types of material! Sorry I just go with whatever I have or like. U can add interfacing to material I it is thin. Sorry I am not much help!

nimupriyu made it! (author)2014-02-16

I used my old t-shirts to make this purse! they already had designs printed on them...!!

nimupriyu (author)nimupriyu2014-02-16

Thank you for your 'ible..! everyone loved the purse...!! And now im trying to add white buttons on it to secure the flap...

Bitsi (author)nimupriyu2014-02-16

It looks great. Using t-shirts was a good idea.

Adding a button could be tricky. You'll need one on both sides of the bag. Try sewing a loop of elastic (like a ponytail holder) to the end of the flap, and putting the button on the bag.

Good luck!

citykitttykat (author)2012-09-23

Just soooooo Awesome. Excellent instructions as well. Thank you very much for sharing.

hbennis (author)2011-05-11

awesome; i'm going to go make this bag right now (minus the animal print lol) your instructions are great. i have read so many quilting books, magazines & it is like having to learn a whole different language. thanks for speaking english !! xx

hammer9876 (author)2009-04-20

You drew the fabric patterns freehand? Wow. I love the giraffe pattern. Then again, the zebra pattern is pretty awesome, too. "Gold painty pen." Would you tell us what kind of ink/paint you used? Has the gold paint worn well, as in, has it flaked off or anything? You may be interested in No, I don't work for them.

Bitsi (author)hammer98762009-04-20

Thanks. Both sides got a little scuffed up eventually. But the gold definitely lasted longer than the black sharpie ink. Here's a link for the pen: <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><br/><br/>If you're just into the giraffe thing, try picking up a plain brown leather bag from the thrift store and painting your pattern on it.<br/><br/>:-)<br/><br/>

hammer9876 (author)Bitsi2009-04-20


lancmaltby (author)2008-06-30

love the bag(s)!!! Great job!

About This Instructable




Bio: I teach computer science and I do graphic design for printed bags, clothing, housewares, and much more. (, and ...
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